'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 6 May 2021

Review: Bear and Rat

‘Bear,’ said Rat. ‘I’ve been wondering. Will we always hold hands like this, even when we are old and wrinkly…

Bear and Rat are special friends. The best of friends. Forever friends. Soul mates.

As they journey together through the seasons, Rat ponders and asks Bear...

...will they remain together forever? Will they always hold hands, even if Rat is cranky or sick or does something bad?

No matter the scenario, Bear always says he will be there for Rat, no matter what Rat does or needs.

‘Of course I’ll hold your hand,’ declared Bear. ‘And I’ll even rub your toes until they get better.’

But then Rat asks a different question. Rat asks what will happen if she has to leave and go somewhere Bear can’t go.

What will happen then?

Bear and Rat is a heartfelt, emotion-filled, tear triggering masterpiece. It explores the true meaning of friendship and love and loss and grief. But it does it in a way children will understand and relate to. And more than that, it speaks to readers about the time after someone leaves and what you can do to hold onto memories so they are never truly gone.

Christopher Cheng has infused real and raw emotion into this story, and you feel it on every page. Written to help him work through his wife’s cancer diagnosis, with the characters being their favourite animals, the book is a true look at what it means to share a love and friendship so powerful it can never fade.

Filled with hope and truth and love, this is a story that shows readers a path to forever friendship. A magical place of being that will never disappear if you hold onto the memories that make up your life, history and the people you hold dear.

Stephen Michael King brings so much to this story with his beautiful illustrations. On every page, Bear and Rat stick together through the changing seasons, each bringing different challenges for our friends to overcome. But on every page they support each other, even when the wind blusters and the rain falls.

With its layered meaning, the book will be interpreted differently by different kids at different stages of their lives, and that in itself is a gift because it means you get more from the book each time you come back.

Thank you Christopher Cheng for giving us this book and letting us into your world. And thank you Stephen Michael King for bringing these magical words to life on the page so that we might get to know Bear and Rat more intimately. I for one will never ever forget them.

Title: Bear and Rat
Author: Christopher Cheng
Illustrator: Stephen Michael King
Publisher: Puffin, $24.99
Publication Date: 4 May 2021
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781760896287
For ages:  3 - 6
Type: Picture Book